I get asked a lot about monologues--what monologue should I do, what does contrasting pieces mean, etc.
Here are some thoughts on monologue hunting:
-Your monologue choices let people know who you are as an actor. So, choose pieces that are within your type and brand. What do you have to say? How is your voice different? Let your pieces reflect that difference.
-Contrasting doesn't have to mean funny vs dramatic. Contrasting can be light vs dark, broad character choices vs subtle character choices, contrasting actions, contrasting characters, etc.
However, don't be so broad with how you contrast your pieces that you go outside of your type/brand. This will just confuse casting. For example, my type is strong willed, determined, gritty, fighter, leader women. If I chose a monologue of a delicate flower (like Laura in Glass Menagerie), that wouldn't be representing my type. If I paired that piece with Lady Macbeth (who is my type), then my buyers are left confused.
-Choosing a monologue takes time. Yes, you will go through and read a lot of plays that will offer up nothing in terms of monologues, but in the process of reading all of those plays, you are understanding story, characterization, that playwright's voice, structure, tone, mood, etc. Read read read. In the process, you'll learn a ton. You might even find a monologue.
-Don't be afraid to piece together chunks of dialogue in order to create your monologue, BUT you should always keep in mind playwright intention when doing so. Don't be so willy nilly with your editing that you compromise the story. Story is king (or queen).
Start identifying your leaders, heroes, and inspirations—the people who lead in the way you want to lead.
Who are the content creators? The writers? The producers? The actors? The stand up comics? The people who shake things up, create opportunities, and are champions for diversity and creativity?
If you get stuck, look for people who are from your hometown, who are of your ethnicity, sexuality, religious background, etc. Chances are they are writing and creating from their experiences, and if you have a shared experience, then chances are their work will resonate with you in a profound way.
For example, I’m from the Mississippi Delta, which is a very specific place with a very specific culture. A lot playwrights come from the Mississippi Delta (Beth Henley, Tennessee Williams, Katori Hall, Ida Mae Holland), so all of these lovely creators and writers are on my inspiration list. I can feel their work in my bones.
Obviously, there are millions of resources out there--these are just a few:
abebooks.com for discount books and plays
Adam's website: https://www.adamszymkowicz.com/monologues.htm
The ACTIVE ACTOR
You are probably wondering this blog is about. Well, it's about anything that everything that I find inspiring, helpful, and curiosity building.
Curiosity is my favorite state of being, and I've become a treasure hunter and a trash hoarder, collecting all sorts of articles, artwork, and accessories that fuel my inspiration and creativity.
This will also be a place for me to document my life as an actor and coach in Los Angeles. If performing is your passion, I hope that this blog becomes a place for you to learn from my mistakes, grow from my accomplishments, laugh at my witless choices, and share in this crazy, unpredictable, beautiful, life in the arts.